Elections building renamed in honor of Oregon women who fought for right to vote

International Women's Day celebrated

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It was an exciting moment for people at the Multnomah County Elections Building, when two shiny new plaques were unveiled. They honor Abigail Scott Duniway and Esther Pohl Lovejoy. The building is now named for two women who fought to give women in Oregon the right to vote.

Twelve-year-old Molly Ruff, who is also girl scout, was beside her herself.

“She just wasn't a quitter and she's so inspiring to me,” said Ruff.

The two women are inspiring to many, including former governor Barbara Roberts. She was the first woman to become the governor of Oregon. She said too often buildings are named after men.

“I was inspired by the incredible fortitude of these women who just fought, and fought, and fought and would not give up until women got the right to vote,” said Roberts.

Commissioner Loretta Smith brought up the idea to rename the building last fall.

“We must remember that their accomplishments are our accomplishments,” said Smith.

On this International Women's Day, celebrations weren't limited to the elections office. Some women chose to take part in the national movement, 'A Day Without a Woman.' Some women skipped work, limited spending to charities and woman-owned businesses, and spent time enjoying the outdoors.

“When you stand up for the rights of women you stand up for the rights of everybody,” said Edie Gillis, who showed up for a planned hike in celebration of International Women’s Day and in solidarity with ‘A Day Without a Woman.’

Back at the elections building, little Ruff was more inspired than ever. She wants to become a National Geographic photographer when she grows up and she wants to travel to places in the world that need examples of strong women like Duniway and Lovejoy.

“I want to be like one of those strong powerful women,” Ruff said.

Ruff was part of the group that tried to get the Tilikum Bridge named after Duniway. She said today made up for their efforts.

The fight to give women the right to vote in Oregon started in 1871.

In 1912, most women in Oregon gained the right to vote. Then eight years later, all women won that right.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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